It is deplorable yet true that in a “welfare” nation like India, health care costs alone push around 60 million persons into poverty every year. The Government is evidently negligent of the needs of the urban poor; public health systems and timely quality health services at an affordable cost are evasive for them. In 70% of the cases, the urban poor have no choice but to access private health providers. More often the first point of contact with a provider is a quack and they end up spending considerable amount of money on these unqualified practitioners.
Identifying the cause of such high household expenditure on health amongst poor as lack of quality and affordable preventive health services,two sisters from Chandigarh, Nidhi Chaudhary and Vidhi Bhatia, co-founded Navya Tarang Foundation, a not for profit social enterprise which is establishing a network of primary health care clinics in the tricity of Chandigarh-Panchkula-Mohali and is aimed at reducing the out of pocket expenditure on health for urban poor by providing quality curative, preventive and promotive primary health services at an affordable cost.
Dr Nidhi Chaudhary, Founder and CEO of Navya Tarang Foundation says, “Women and children die not due to incurable diseases but due to lack of our willingness as a society to ensure access to quality health services for all, irrespective of their status”. Instead of being merely dismissive or critical of the situation, Dr. Chaudhary and her sister, Ms. Vidhi Bhatia are spearheading the change dedicated towards the cause of promoting preventive healthcare for the urban poor.
Dr. Chaudhary graduated from Christian Medical College, Vellore and did her post graduate diploma in Child Health. She has been working as a public health professional for last 15 years with various NGOs, international consultancy firms and UN Organisations – WHO and UNICEFD.
The medical and public health expertise of Dr. Chaudhary is complemented by the entrepreneurial skills of Ms. Bhatia.
The first primary care Tarang Clinic started its operations from October 1, 2016 in the largest urban poor settlement in Chandigarh with a population of nearly 40,000. The clinic runs a general OPD from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm with two doctors and two nurses. It serves as a one-stop shop for doctor’s consultation, medicines and laboratory tests. Bulk purchase of medicines enables medicines to be available at lower cost for clients. The clinic has referral linkages for laboratory and radio diagnostics and specialist consultation with a charitable hospital for availing these additional services beyond the scope of primary healthcare at discounted rate.
The clinic has served nearly 1400 patients in the first six weeks of its operations. Navya Tarang also organized a free medical camp in which 150 patients were checked and treated. Navya Tarang plans to open 5 more clinics in the tricity. They have plans to extend their services to the community to promote preventive healthcare. Dr. Chaudhary is currently a Fellowship participant at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) India and credits SSE India for giving her the wings that enabled her to change her dreams into reality.
KRITIKA VIDYARTHI | TOC
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